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What is Human Resources

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Human Resources May Be the Most Important Department

If you work for a paycheck, you're a human resource. So are your fellow associates, your bosses and anyone who calls you a boss. Added together, you make up your company's human resources. The department that recruits, hires, trains and informs the company's human resources is called the Human Resources department.

Human Resources Over Time

A generation ago, the department was relegated to the basement, and its employees considered mere paper-pushers rarely seen out of their offices. They received applications, checked them for completion, and sent a pile of them to the hiring department's manager. Sometimes they set up interviews at the manager's request. Once employees were hired, the Human Resources department gave them more paperwork, discussed benefits, etc. This was all considered the dull, nitty-gritty details of a new job.

Fast-forward to today, and Human Resources departments are perceived as vital to the company's success. HR Managers know how and where to look for the best talent, what traits and skills translate to an ideal employee in their company, and how to recognize them in prospective employees. In short, they're the gatekeepers to a company's most valuable resources: the human kind.

Jobs in Human Resources

Companies large and small usually have a Human Resources Manager who is responsible for department management as well as the training and development of company employees. Some companies may also have HR specialists with specific expertise in one or more areas. If you enjoy talking with people and finding out more about them than whatever you see on paper—and you have a lot of patience, a flair for detail and a sincere desire to help people learn and grow in their careers—this might be the field for you.

Aspiring HR employees should have at least a bachelor's degree in human resources, or a business degree with emphasis in human resources. Advanced degrees such as an MBA can be an added advantage. Businesses recognize how vital the HR department is to their business, so the more you can show that you've got the credentials and the drive to help them pull ahead in their industry, the more valuable you'll be to them. In 2016, HR managers had a median salary of $106,910. Those in general business, scientific and technical environments earned the highest salaries, while those in social services earned the least. Of course, you won't start out as an HR manager. HR specialists with a college degree and little work experience earned $59,180. Labor relations specialists earned $62,310; training and development specialists earned $59,020.

Human Resource Development

Few people want to be stuck in the same job, doing the same tasks, year after year. They want to learn and grow in the job and take on more or different responsibilities. Part of the job of the HR department is to work with department managers to make sure each employee is well trained in her job, has a specific job description and follows it, and has a plan outlined for career growth. With all the time, resources and money that goes into hiring and training employees, the HR department is also tasked with retaining good employees. Finding out how employees want to grow, where they see themselves going within the company, and aligning their experiences with the idea of helping them progress is a good way to keep them.